Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Finding a path forward

So I know these are a lot of images. The reason I have posted all of them is because they are all from one day. 8 full sketch pages of Anatomy and concept. To be honest this isn;t even that remarkable. Any one of us gets on a tear and the pages start flying. However, this is about the level I feel I should be producing every day.

Going into IMC, I knew one of my biggest weaknesses was my original drawing ability. Having great ideas and being able to convey them quickly and accurately is a tool that we all need in our repertoire. The painting itself will be more sound and will be much better thought out. Laboriously copying your reference material just to get an idea of where you are going makes you a slave to the process. I understand that many of you don;t have that problem, but I have and do.

My solution is just to draw the hell out of the figure and form. You guys should know by now that I find....

AAAAAAHHHHHH as I was typing my daughters were taking a purple magic marker to my finished IMC Painting. A quick dab of water and vigorous scrubbing and my heart is back to normal.

Anyway.... I find that studies should be useful, informative and discard able. Before I was doing my figure studies by rendering the hell out of one section of the form each day of the week. For the next few weeks, I am instead devoting a week to a section. Last week was the head/face, this week is the torso, next week will be arms/hands and so on. In a few weeks I will then come back in and start doing whole figures. The idea is to spend 2-4 minutes on each sketch trying to pull out the information and familiarity you need rather than get bogged down in "drawing that model". Who gives a crap if I can draw a chick on a cloth leaning to the right. What I NEED is to know how the form bends and pulls underneath her "garb" so my drawings and paintings are more natural. This knowledge is what will allow you to modify and deviate from your reference with confidence. Again, I realize many of you know this via your own path, but I still think it useful to share mine.

More robots to come!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I, Steampunk

So I have got the fever. It's true. I never realized how bad I had it until I started researching my IMC piece. Steampunk kicks ace. Its true. Not just any and all, but GOOD steampunk. I'm talking Miyazaki and Otomo good. People slapping gears and valves on crap and calling it punk is lame, but well researched and fantastically viable Victorian style low-tech steam punk is the bomb. With that said, I am developing a series of book covers focused around the exploits of two steam engineers. I will be building maquettes for all of the vehicles and steam-jacks depicted. The finale will be a 20x30 battle scene depicting the heroic engineers and the standard Germanic empire baddies. Think Valkyria Chronicles meets Porco Rosso fighting across the Iron Kingdoms. If all 3 of these references don't strike a glorious chord, you don't know steampunk. I will make it my mission to educate your properly. It is my goal to have these pics done by Gencon.

The pics above are concept sketches for "Earl" the clockwork golem (steam-jack) as well as production and completion pics. I will be painting him up over the next few days to bring out his inner glory. He has taken about 10 hours to scratch build, and all of his limbs, torso and head are fully moveable and poseable. The fingers even come out if I need to change the grip. A big shout out to Jim Gurney for getting me to take this to the next level. His support and enthusiasm are the most blessed of contagions. I hope you guys like it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Summoning

So here is the final piece for The Summoning. I started this before IMC, and then came back and knocked the rest out in an evening. The piece is 20x24 in Oils and took about 8-9 hours to do. It was fun and I hope you dig it too. BTW, you really need to see the original on this one. The vibrancy and inner life are half the point. Ah well...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"First Flight" - IMC

Hey guys! Here is a better pic of my finished piece for IMC. This is the thumbnail I submitted for ImagineFX. This was the Jetcycle assignment and is titled "First Flight". Later this week I will put together a montage of the process so you can see the effect IMC had on my composition.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

IMC Day 6

It is still Day 6 technically and I have painting straight for about 12 hours now. I even turned down a round of frisbee throwing. That means I am serious! The painting is at about a 10 right now, and I am going to put in a few hours and take it to 11. Almost through this long haul and missing the family. Can't wait to change things up and amp up my summer cons!

See you guys tomorrow with my latest piece "First Flight".

IMC Day 5

Whew. The roller coaster ride has begun its descent. Paint. Paint. Paint. Lunch with the Gurneys. A great lecture by Rebecca Guay and a stirring presentation from Donato. Donato is a "genius" and an inspiring artist. I am thankful he is out here working.

Made some good progress on the bike and stayed up until 6am painting, drinking and later on, WHOOPING BUTT IN STREET FIGHTER IV!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

IMC Day 4

Day 4

Uggghhh. I know I am supposed to remain confident at all times, but this day was a punch in the jeans. I got up a little late and headed back to the trenches. I will preface the rest of this post with "Thank you Dan." He has given me a plan and a method to attack my future paintings and this is what I needed.

Steering a course through turbulent wind in a new ship.

That is what this feels like. I know the craft will get me to my destination but it is a bear sailing my way to the end. I painted all day until 3 am and got a few background elements done. Slow, steady and with a heavy heart.

In between bouts of Alligator wrestling (figurative), caught a great lecture on Color and Light from James Gurney. Later on, Scott and Dan gave us a peak into their process. Very cool stuff and mostly just a routine of painting. More to come!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

IMC Day 3

Wow. So where to begin. I started the day off tired but resolved and set off to lay in some paint. I got to work right away and was treated to a visit from Mr. James Gurney. He loved the dynamism of my concept and thought the execution was looking good. We talked some more about jetbikes, kit-bashing and was given an insight into the Gurney legacy. Apparently they are all pioneers and inventive folk. One of his ancestors, Goldworthy Gurney was a steam inventor who was forced out of business by Luddites and Railroad tycoons in the mid 1800's. Sweet. This was a very big pick me up in a (so far) frustrating experience. Then, to top it off, he asked to take pictures of my bike. Instead, we posed holding it together and he ended up posting the photo on his blog. Could it get better? I told him how his book shad always been a very special thing between my mother and I and how he was one of my great inspirations. His response: "That means alot to me coming from you. Your work amazes me and I look forward to reading your book." The expectation gauntlet has been thrwon and I will not disappoint.

After lunch Mr Gurney gave a lecture on/from his book Imaginative realism. A long time follower of his blog (The Gurney Journey), and owner of his book, I was still fascinated by his delivery of the material and the breadth of his knowledge. He even went so far as to mention our conversation and me by name. This guys is a fountain of inspiration!

Got back to painting and was smiles and roses. Until...

Dan (Dos San Tos) cornered me on the way back from dinner and requested I wipe my painting and start again with his guidance. He really wanted me to develop the process correctly. A big, fat, deep breath and a leap of faith later, I was back (literally) to the Drawing board. He came over and got me started on the right path. Laying in (slowly) my background, then mid ground, foreground and focal point. Of course I was only able to lay in a few background elements before calling it quits around 4:30am. Uggh.

Still, Dan is a hell of a guy, and I came here to be challenged and to learn the right way to do things. I know it will work out, but it was still a reality check: I have a long way to go.

As you guys eagerly await tomorrows post, a day that I am still experiencing if only in duration, I will leave you with a non-existing image: the painting as I had it when I killed it. Wheeee..cough.cough... *(positive) sigh*

Monday, June 14, 2010

IMC Day 2

Day 2

With the arduous task of trying to sleep out of the way, I started the day ready to work. I had to wait until 11am to get my piece printed out at 18x24, so I doodled and doddled around for a bit. I really should have used this time to composite my precision sketches, but instead I drew that damn bike, in detail, for the umpteenth time. I am starting to realize I should be doing this all the time. It was at this time that I finally got to meet James Gurney. He was upstairs touring around and happened to be back critiquing near my semi-final drawing. As he rounds the corner I hear “Oh Wow! Whose is this?”. He loved my idea and delivery and then seemed delighted by my model Jetbike.


Here are the main reasons I built the bike:

1.) I knew I would need the reference.

2.) I wanted to impress James Gurney

3.) I still love to build models

4.) I wanted to impress James Gurney

5.) If my concept sucked, at least I could show my dedication with my model

6.) See 2 and 4

We talked about this kit bash and different glues for a bit and I got a pat on the back (literally) and a Gurney smile. Score!

After a moderately brief visit to the print shop I snagged my drawing, had some lunch and head off to the James Gurney lecture. Needless to say I own Gurney’s first Art guide, Imaginative Realism, and it has been inspiring. But to have him present his thoughts and ideas was a real treat for everybody. His pleasant delivery and easy jokes just made me feel relaxed and delighted. Plus, in the middle of his lecture, he references talking with me specifically about modeling reference. I was done. Wheeeee.

Most of the afternoon was spent fleshing out the final transfer image and I got the first stage of mounting done with Sam’s help. Sam Flegal is a great friend and a valuable reference. Check out his blog if you haven’t yet. When I think of Sam, the Golden Girls theme song always pops in my head. Thanks buddy.

Dinner was knocked out with no ceremony and I headed over to the Donato and Manchess multiple figure demo. 2 hours of the artists’ inspirations, preparation and direction and I am left feeling lazy and overly inspired. These guys talk about the most technical concepts in the most basic and casual terms. The combination provokes a very challenging blend of emotional responses. I think if I can overcome my personal obstacles and make myself push harder, I might one day far down the road develop ownership of these concepts. Uggghhh

The next 5 hours are spent mounting my final and shooting references for my second piece: a steampunk version of Beauty and the Beast. The lovely Anna Christenson posed as the short, spunky mechanic in what should be a fun piece. I don’t really care too much if I finish this one while here, but I really wanted some figure/clothing work with Dan. If I can knock the composition and her role out, I will be satisfied. Feeling like I had made it over the hump, I tooled around with the guys and had a few drinks. Talked with Dan about picking up one of his originals in the (hopefully near) future. He is going to go through his remaining work and pick out a few pieces that are particularly technical AND cool. Dan Dos San Tos remains one of my favorite artists and if you are not familiar with his name, you ARE familiar with his work. Now if only I could get Fortunato out to IMC…



Day 1

Sooooo. Saturday, June 12th. After a terrible night’s rest, and a decent breakfast, we rushed over to the studio to get a good spot. I set up in a window corner with the rest of the Drawn Today guys, bookended by the inestimable Aaron Miller and the lovely Kim Kincaid, and prepared for the whatever. Rebecca Guay started off the day with an introductory greeting and slideshow. It left me feeling incredibly emotional and in a state of turmoil that would not subside for the rest of the day.

From there, we rolled upstairs and started the sketch critiques. In a moment of mixed blessings, my sketch went first. It was well received and well critiqued and left me in shambles. Nah not really, but it was encouraging and humbling at the same time.

After our Safety lecture at 1:00 we went back to the studio for 4 more hours of critiques. What a tough time. I made sure to pay attention to each sketch and review; both out of politeness and for the valuable information. Got a few sketches of the bike done in that time; a few of which paved the way for the final.

After dinner, we headed over to the Photo reference lecture. Donato and Rebecca walked us through the basics and then the particulars of not only shooting your references, but how to choose the right pic and how to embellish your work off of it. This was a great lecture in both the application and the worth. We hear and say to not be a slave to your reference but this lecture really struck home with me. Can’t wait to bring this level of clarity and decision making to my own work.

With the reference lecture finished, we headed back to the studio for a very frustrating 6 hours of doodling and dwelling. In my search for criticism and direction, I started to feel really desperate and self-conscious. Once I finally cornered DDS and got him to really comment on the quality of my new direction, I felt much better. Of course, it was only at this point that he said he thought the original was badass and just needed to be tweaked. Ah well….

Instead of staying up till 5 drinking, I decided to call it a day and went back to the room for some much needed but undelivered rest.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hey guys! Here is my final production sketch for IMC. It is a little cropped and has some odd fades as a result of photomerging paper scans. Still, I think you guys get the idea. The colors will be very Miyazaki/Venetian and I think I will go with big, ruffly clouds and a bright spot of blue in the upper left. Thanks for all the advice and criticism. I leave tomorrow for IMC, but I'll keep on posting! Take care, G

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Jetcycle

So here are a few pics of the final piece. I am working on the Production Sketch right now and should have that posted tomorrow. Having a viable presentation of perspective for this painting is invaluable.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sneak peek

I just thought I would post a few quick progress pics of my IMC Jetbike Model. More to come!

Update: Just added another progress pic. About to go prime it!